Vin Diesel Almost Had A Major Role In The Lord Of The Rings
Vin Diesel auditioned for the role of Aragorn in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, losing to Viggo Mortenson in an amazing Hollywood "what if?"
What would the Lord of the Rings trilogy have looked like if Vin Diesel had played Aragorn? The world may never know but the Fast and the Furious franchise superstar did audition for the role, according to The Things. Furthermore, director Peter Jackson found his performance compelling, but not quite what he was looking for in the heir of Isildur.
Vin Diesel is famously into nerdy pastimes like Dungeons & Dragons, so it is no surprise that he tried out to be in the movie trilogy based on the J.R.R. Tolkein novels since the tabletop roleplaying game was inspired by the world of Middle Earth. At that point in his career, he was known for supporting roles such as in Saving Private Ryan and voice work in the moving animated feature The Iron Giant. Certainly, such a prominent role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy would have boosted the actor’s reputation and given him his choice of roles, as it did Viggo Mortensen.
However, Viggo Mortensen landed the part and Vin Diesel was forced to look for other work, which he found in his defining role as Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious. This followed a breakout appearance as the sinister anti-hero Riddick in Pitch Black, which means the action-hero launched two successful movie franchises in a two-year span. Both franchises have had multiple sequels as well as video games and movie shorts featuring the characters.
The Fast and the Furious without Vin Diesel would be almost as catastrophic as The Lord of the Rings without hobbits, so it’s a good thing that Viggo Mortensen got the role instead. Vin Diesel certainly could have given an interesting performance as Aragorn, but while the J.R.R. Tolkein franchise has a respected history, being the face of a sci-fi franchise and an action franchise is no easy feat, and Vin Diesel was the right man for the task. Playing Aragorn would have changed the Fast and the Furious franchise as profoundly as it would have the Peter Jackson epic.
In addition to 10 Fast and the Furious movies, 3 movies in the Pitch Black universe, and 2 movies as xXx‘s Xander Cage, Vin Diesel is also a part of the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe as the lovable one-phrased tree being Groot. New movies in all four of those franchises are due to be released or begin production within the next year, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Fast X in later stages of production. Not landing the role of Aragorn has certainly not hurt Vin Diesel’s career.
The actor has found other ways to use film to express his love for Dungeons & Dragons. Vin Diesel starred in The Last Witch Hunter as Kaulder, who is based on a character from his D&D table, and subsequently played the character on the Joe Manganiello show CelibriD&D. Being a guest at Joe Manganiello’s table is the Hollywood version of having your nerd card validated.
Vin Diesel has lately been playing Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and the limited series I Am Groot, both of which are on Disney+. Groot also appeared in Thor: Love and Thunder, also on Disney+. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is on Amazon Prime, but he is not in it.